Search Term: " Recovery "
Is CBD Oil The Supplement That Your Workout Is Missing?
May 29, 2018 09:16 AM
Although hard evidence about the effects of cannabinoids like CBD is difficult to come by, our growing understanding of the body's natural endocannabinoid systems suggest that there is at least the potential for benefits from CBD for athletic performance. CBD, for example, may help boost the endocannabinoid system's suppression of pain and inflammation. However, it is also important to note that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in whole marijuana, appears to decrease long-range endurance. More research is sorely needed to understand just how CBD and other cannabinoid compounds impact athletic performance.
"Despite anecdotal evidence that CBD oil might help with athletic performance and recovery, there actually haven't been any clinical trials examining those effects, says Brook Henry, PhD, an assistant research scientist at the University of California, San Diego's Center for Medical Cannabis Research and department of psychiatry."
Read more: https://www.refinery29.com/cbd-oil-for-exercise
What is Yerba Mate and Why it's Good for You
August 21, 2017 12:14 PM
Yerba Mate is good for you in a variety of ways. High levels of antioxidants (far more than green tea), Vitamins A, C, and E, and iron, zinc, calcium, and 15 amino acids are in this tea. Benefits include improvements in weight control, muscle recovery, digestion and metabolism, focus, and heart health including anti-inflammatory properties. It is made from the yerba mate plant from South America, and it has powerful properties enhancing both physical and mental health.
"This tea contains many nutrients that we need in our daily lives, such as antioxidants, amino acids, and other vitamins that are essential to our health."
Read more: https://www.sdentertainer.com/lifestyle/what-is-yerba-mate-and-why-its-good-for-you/
How Much Should You Push Yourself with Depression?
November 23, 2016 12:59 PM
Depression is a reality that affects all too many. One of the toughest decisions is knowing when to push and when to cut yourself some slack. The key to making this decision above all is to know yourself. Find out what it is about yourself that can help you identify your triggers for stress and learn to combat them with the perspective and experience of Therese J. Borchard.
"Do you typically push yourself too much or do you need to be pushed? That will help you know what to do when you get depressed. If you constantly beat yourself up for not doing everything perfectly in Recovery, or in life, maybe you should throttle back to part-time (if you can afford it) and try to allow yourself to heal. If you typically need other people to inspire you to change, then maybe pushing yourself is the right thing to do."
Ribose is a type of sugar which is produced in the body and is of medicinal value. This organic compound is very essential in our day-to-day lives because it boosts our energy levels. Apart from energy boost, ribose is also used to relieve manifestations of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and coronary artery disease. It also prevents other symptoms like pain following a workout in individuals with a genetic condition known as myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD). This vital body chemical can help boost exercise ability in individuals with another inherited disorder known as McArdle's disease.
How Does D-ribose Work to Boost Energy in the Body?
The manner in which d-ribose works to deliver results is very simple and elaborate. It promotes the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary source of energy for the body's cells. Healthy, active cells constantly top up their supply of ATP to get adequate cellular energy. Through increasing levels of adenosine triphosphate, the supplement can help speed up energy Recovery, increase energy reserves and
As you can see, your body needs to keep its production of (ATP) at its highest possible level for maximum energy production as well as physical performance. But sometimes the supply of actual ATP molecules may be reduced due to a number of factors including physical activity and health condition. This is where D-ribose, a natural ingredient for boosting ATP levels comes in.
Is Colloidal Silver Good For Boils?
February 04, 2013 03:21 PM
Colloidal silver is one of alternative medicines whose popularity is increasing everyday. Although most people in the world are experiencing this product for the first time, the fact is that it has been there for a very long time. The product is prepared by mixing silver nitrate with distilled water. Basically, this product is made by suspending the molecules of silver in distilled water. The resulting suspension is used as a nutritional supplement and also as an antibiotic.
When used as antibiotic, it helps in killing different types of pathogens including bacteria, virus and fungus. It works by disabling a specific enzyme in the pathogen which is responsible for oxygen metabolism. When this enzyme is disabled, the pathogen will not be able to make food and therefore it will die within a very short period of time. The good thing about colloidal silver is that it does not touch healthy blood cells as it only targets the pathogens.
When used as a nutritional supplement, colloidal silver helps to boost body's immunity. When you take this product, it is absorbed into the body through small intestines and then it is transported in to different body cells. The process of eliminating pathogens may take up to four days. It is important to note that many pathogens today are becoming resistant to traditional antibiotics and therefore patients and health professionals are always looking for a better solution. Due to the fact that this product is able to deal with different types of pathogens, it has found use in treating a wide range of infections including boils.
How colloidal silver helps to get rid of boils
Boils are very common among so many people around the world. They are mainly caused by a bacterial infection. One may get boils when exposed to the specific bacteria. When body's immunity falls, one has a higher risk of getting boils. Colloidal silver helps to treat boils in two ways; When this product targets the bacteria causing the boils, the bacteria will die off and the boils will heal. Due to the fact that this product is fast acting, the boils may disappear within 3 or four days. Colloidal suspension provides a different kind of immunity that works parallel to the existing body immunity. This means that the body is given a new power to fight infections. A strong immunity allows the body to effectively fight foreign organisms in the body. Therefore the body will be able to fight the boil bacteria. This will not only ensure Recovery, it will also prevent future recurrence of the condition.
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Amino Acid Glutathione?
January 30, 2013 12:33 PM
Glutathione is a naturally occurring substance produced by the liver that acts as a very good antioxidant. Apart from being produced in the body, glutathione is also found in some fruits and vegetables, and also detoxifies and boosts the human immune system. Glutathione is a very exciting and important discovery, as it can do all this, and much more. Experts who have been researching glutathione over the years have found out that it can also treat and repair the damage caused to the body by various factors like pollution, radiation, poor diet, stress, drugs, aging, burns, injury, trauma and infection. Glutathione is found in almost every cell of the body, and acts as a very important antioxidant. It is also found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Anyone with a decent diet should not have to worry about not having enough glutathione in their system.
What is it that glutathione does for your body, anyway?
Well, to put it simply, glutathione helps keep your cells functioning properly. It also assists the liver in freeing the body of foreign agents like chemicals and pollutants. You might dismiss glutathione as not being of much importance, but its actual role comes into effect when you become severely ill. Not enough glutathione in your body can deteriorate chances of Recovery, as it is essential in keeping your cells together and in good condition.
There are oral glutathione supplements available for people who don't have enough of it in their body. It has many health benefits like fighting against various diseases and aging. Some of the diseases where glutathione has been proved to effectively act include high blood pressure, cataracts, Parkinson's disease, cancer, male infertility and Alzheimer's disease. It is thus evident how beneficial glutathione is for the human body. Research is being done to explore the possibility of glutathione treating cancer, and some progress has been obtained. If we can successfully treat cancer with this powerful antioxidant, it will be a medical miracle.
Detoxify With L-Citrulline
April 13, 2009 03:51 PM
L-citrulline is an alpha-amino acid, first isolated from the watermelon in 1930: hence the name, citrullis being Latin for that fruit, the skin of which is rich in the substance. It is used to enhance performance in sports, particularly through aiding Recovery after exercise, and also helps the liver to detoxify the blood.
It is not an essential amino acid in that it is produced by the body and need not be part of your diet. It is a precursor to arginine, which involves the sustained release of nitric oxide in the endothelium that promotes increased flow of blood and the blood vessels as described further below. One of the biochemical pathways for its biosynthesis involves the urea cycle, whereby the toxic ammonia is detoxified into an easily excreted form through its conversion to urea.
The urea cycle consists of five reactions, and citrulline is formed in the second of these. In the first of these, ammonia reacts with bicarbonate to form carbamoyl phosphate, the phosphate coming from the two molecule of ATP used to energize the reaction. These are converted to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and the carbamoyl phosphate then reacts with ornithine to form citrulline, which takes part in step three that eventually leads to the formation of urea.
The second way in which L-citrulline can be biosynthesized is from the oxidation of arginine, a natural amino acid. Arginine is oxidized into N-hydroxyarginine, and then into L-citrulline with the release of nitric oxide.
So that's how it is produced in the body, but how does it help sportsmen, and what part does it play in detoxification? Its effect on Recovery after exercise is connected with blood flow. Energy is created in the mitochondria that are contained in every cell off the body. Among the raw materials needed for the production of energy are glucose and oxygen: glucose obtained from the carbohydrates in your diet, and oxygen transported by the hemoglobin or red blood cells.
Both of these rely on blood flow: greater the volume of blood transported to the cells then the greater the ability of these cells to produce energy. During periods of exercise, a good supply of blood is required to provide the raw materials needed for the energy demand of the muscles involved in the exercise. Not only that however, but Recovery after exercise involves the replacement of electrolytes, the glycogen used in extensive aerobic and anaerobic exercise and protein replacement, particularly where catabolism has occurred.
In order to supply these raw materials at an adequate rate, it is necessary for the flow of blood to the appropriate muscles to be sufficient. A major restriction to increase blood flow is elasticity of the blood vessels and cells. Although a healthy heart is capable of providing the necessary quantities of blood, and hence of nutrients, any restriction to the flow could cause dangerously high blood pressure.
Nitric oxide plays a signaling role in enlarging blood vessels to allow an increased blood flow when it is needed by the body. It can provide more blood to the stomach during digestion and to the muscles during exercise and Recovery.
During hard exercise, nitric oxide can act as a pump that provides blood during exercise and also during Recovery. It can therefore provide more rapid gains in lean mass, increased endurance and faster muscle Recovery. The way it does this is to send a signal to the smooth muscles to relax; smooth muscles such as those found in veins and arteries, so resulting in vasodilation therefore allowing increased blood flow.
It is the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, which uses the nitric oxide to provide the relaxation signal to the smooth muscles surrounding it. In fact, it is the effect of nitric oxide that enables those living at high altitudes to develop increased stamina and speed over those at lower altitudes, and find more world records seem to be broken during athletics meetings, such as Olympic Games, held at high altitudes. This is because the production of nitric acid is increased at higher altitudes with slightly lower oxygen levels. This is the same effect that is used by vasodilators such as amyl nitrite and Viagra that work by increasing nitric oxide levels in the smooth muscle wall of the blood vessels.
It should not be surprising therefore, that L-citrulline should work in a similar way, since it is intimately involved in the production of nitric oxide. Although this is now generally understood, what part does supplemental citrulline play in the body if it is a non-essential amino acid?
Supplemental L-citrulline is useful in supporting the detoxification of ammonia in the liver when supplies of ornithine carbamoyl transferase is naturally in short supply. This is the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between ornithine and carbamoyl phosphate to form citrulline. Supplements can then help in the removal of ammonia from the blood, and also provide material for the continued production of nitric oxide support muscular activity and its Recovery after exercise.
Ammonia itself is a by-product of intensive exercise, and without the urea cycle the body would rapidly become polluted. It is a very toxic product, and causes the death of thousands of people each year. This is generally in people who suffer liver and kidney disease, and the ammonia can be broken down and excreted.
Your brain cells are particularly sensitive to ammonia, and as levels increase the effect progressively ranges from drowsiness thru tremors to coma and eventual death. Any condition, therefore, that reduces the body's capability of metabolizing ammonia is potentially very serious, and any supplement that can help prevent this is valuable.
L-citrulline is believed to help in such situations, although any condition affecting the efficiency of the kidneys or liver and that can cause toxicity due to ammonia or any other toxic substance, should be referred to your physician. It is for its effect in increasing blood flow to provide sufficient raw material, for both the energy needed for high levels of exercise and for muscle Recovery, that citrulline is predominantly used as a supplement.
Fight Heart Burn
April 18, 2008 11:38 AM
In a search to promote a long and healthy life, a lot of Americans forget about their stomachs, which results in things ranging from simple heartburn to ulcers and even cancer. The effects of alcohol, smoking, and stress added to the rate of infection create the perfect conditions for stomach distress and disease. A combination of four nutrients: zinc, carnosine, licorice extract, and cranberry, work together to protect stomach function from the environment. These nutrients not only relieve distress, but they also support the body’s natural defense mechanisms against inflammation and the changes that can lead to cancer. A fifth nutrient, picrorhiza, protects the mucosa and can now be included as part of a natural gastric health remedy.
The human stomach, with its extreme acidity, provides a primary defense against infection and also helps in the first stages of digestion. A thick coating of protective mucus is steadily secreted by the surface mucous cells in the stomachs lining to continually protect its self from Hydrochloric acid. Almost everyone has experienced some kind of “upset stomach”, which we associate with overindulgence foods and stress. Although these are only thought of as mild annoyances, each episode causes a bit more lasting damage, which eventually results in cellular injury, which in turn causes inflammation. This inflammation then produces free radicals, which go on to create more tissue destruction and eventually damage DNA, thus potentially leading to cancers of the stomach worst case.
Many natural substances have been used around the world for thousands of years to promote stomach health. Modern science is finding that some of these “folk remedies” actually have potent effects on boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and simply improving physical protection of the stomach lining. Zinc, a micronutrient that has multiple functions in human biology, mainly functions as a defender against free radical damage. It has been found that the more severe the inflammation in people is directly related to lower levels of zinc in individuals.
Zinc also helps to stabilize the membranes of cells that release burst of inflammatory cytokines when they are stimulated by injury or allergy. This mineral is also a well known immune modulator, which can reduce the recurrence rate of certain inflammation-sensitive cancers. There’s no doubt that zinc is a potent anti-inflammatory, and gastroprotective nutrient, but when it is added to amino acid carnosine, these effects can be boosted even further.
Certain fruits, cranberries particularly, are rich in anthocyanins, which have extreme antioxidant abilities. Other compounds that are found in cranberries also prevent bacteria from settling in the urinary tract. A review by nutritional experts found that regular intake of cranberry juice and other dietary products may be an alternative solution for those people who are at risk for H. pylori colonization. It also seems as though cranberries and there extracts can be placed alongside zinc-carnosine as an important component of an effective stomach health regimen.
Licorice extracts have also been shown to help fight stomach infection. Various studies have found that these extracts have potent anti-inflammatory activies, as they reduce cytokine production and increase the protection of the protective stomach mucus. These characteristics, when placed alongside those of zinc-carnosine and cranberry extracts, provide hope that a basis for an alternative therapeutic agent fighting H. pylori can form.
Picrorhiza, which is already used to speed healing in other infections such as hepatitis A, demonstrates unique wound-healing properties, stimulating tissue growth, nerve cell Recovery, and blood vessel formation. Even though the multi-armed approach to gastric protection and improved stomach health seems to be complete with zinc-carnosine, cranberry, and licorice extract, picrorhiza extract brings together the infection-fighting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-healing capabilities of multiple compounds, which all have complementary actions.
If you’re looking for a alternative approach to boost stomach health, the vitamins and herbs listed above are a great starting point. Please do not discontinued prescription medication from your doctor, some cases of stomach issues must be consulted with your doctor before discontinuing use.
Exceptional Ingredients For Exceptional Performance
June 02, 2007 02:52 PM
Anaerobic exercises, such as bodybuilding and strength training, as well as endurance based aerobic activities, such as marathon running and bicycling, are notorious for depleting the body’s reserves of glycogen, protein, electrolyte minerals, water, and other vital constituents. And as simple logic will tell us, the harder one trains, the more they will lose in the process. Failure to properly replenish these nutrients immediately after training can result in fatigue, delayed Recovery, accelerated lactic acid levels, mental sluggishness, and intense soreness. According to research, immediate replacement of electrolyte minerals and carbohydrates, along with easily assimilated protein is an effective way to maximize amino acid utilization, when preventing the onset of fatigue. NOW Electro Pro Energy Drink contains all the elements to ensure proper post-workout Recovery. By combining a perfectly balanced mix of electrolytes, protein and simple and complex carbohydrates, Electro Pro serves as an ideal supplement for recovering after intense training and exercise.*
This patented casein hydrolysate was scientifically formulated to provide athletes with a better source of protein for faster Recovery, more efficient glycogen usage, better insulin response, and less fatigue. PeptoPro helps stimulate the body’s own natural production of insulin to help increase glucose uptake to hard working muscle cells. Its high dipeptide and tripeptide profile promotes fast absorption, and has been shown in human trials to accelerate muscle Recovery. PeptoPro contains all 20 amino acids in the natural ratio of casein, a key factor in preventing muscle fatigue and muscle tissue damage because it is a predigested protein, PeptoPro is ideal for taking before and after workouts.
During intense exercise, the body quickly exhausts its reserve of electrolytes. If these aren’t replenished promptly, the body will fatigue at a very fast rate, and may dehydrate. Electro Pro contains calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium to help fuel even the most intense training session.
Carbohydrates are vital when it comes to providing the glycogen that is needed to fuel and refuel today’s athlete. Electro Pro contains a unique blend of dextrose, fructose and rice Maltodextrin to ensure that the body has a generous fuel source. Every serving contains 32 grams of quality carbohydrates.
Electrolyte Energy Formula
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare Recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
January 21, 2006 01:10 PM
Omega Man is the ideal essential fatty acid and plant phytochemical formula to support optimal health, life and vitality at any age. From the athletic pursuits of your early 20’s to the health concerns of your 50’s, 60’s, and beyond, Omega Man is your answer. Let Omega Man unlock the door to a new, more vibrant, healthier you.
The Omega Man Formula
Organic Flaxseed Oil
Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
Plant Phytosterol Complex
January 07, 2006 01:08 PM
Amino Balance: A foundation formula of 23 pure crystalline, 100% pharmaceutical grade, free form amino acids, uniquely balanced and scientifically formulated to accelerate tissue repair for Recovery, improve muscle to body fat ratios and regulate blood sugar levels when dieting. It is virtually calorie free.
Phosphatidyl Serine - HEALTHY COGNITION BRAIN FUNCTION
December 21, 2005 11:04 AM
“To the dull mind, nature is leaden. To the illumined mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
From the moment we rise to the moment we rest, our brain is in a decision-making frenzy. When we’re thirsty, our brain tells us that we need water. When we’re hungry, it reminds us that we have a refrigerator full of food. When we’re tired, it lets us know that we need to sleep, and so on. But despite the thousands of decisions we make everyday, our brain still hasn’t figured out a way to let us know what it needs to func¬tion.
Though ironic, this raises a very serious issue. The human brain, like every other organ in the body, demands nutrition - period. Unfortunately, it leaves that up to us to figure out. Thanks to notable advance¬ments in research, we’re finally learning which nutri¬ents are most important for optimal brain function. Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a perfect example. This naturally occurring phospholipid has been the subject of numerous studies regarding its ability to boost cognitive function and delay (or potentially reverse) memory deterioration, and suggests that PS may be able to increase the effectiveness of neural transmissions. Interestingly, PS accounts for roughly 15% of the brain’s phospholipid supply. This is enor¬mous because phospholipids play a significant role in the billions of neurotransmissions that take place every second. Yes, billions.
Brain cells are constantly communicating with one another, and send astonishing amounts of impulses throughout the nervous system. This is accomplished via neurotransmitters - chemical messengers that send and receive impulses over the synapses of the brain and throughout the body. Mentally, we’re function¬ing at our best when these cells are well nourished. We can think more clearly, recall memories with ease and operate with greater efficiency. However, a de¬ficiency in neural-nutrients can prevent these mind messengers from functioning as they should. For¬tunately, PS has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver critical nutrients and remove mind-slowing waste.
Consider this. The brain functions in the same man¬ner that a major airport does around the holidays. There are millions of actions taking place. Impulses departing, nutrients arriving, endless communication, the occasional problem and more reactions than any¬one could possibly count. There’s confusion, delay and emotion, not to mention the endless series of transmissions that take place every second. Imagine PS as that ultra-motivated employee who shows up to work everyday anxious to expedite everything in sight. It helps neural travelers get to and from their respec¬tive gates, ensures that they have everything they need, simplifies processes that could result in breakdown, and clears isles that are cluttered with junk. Simply stated, PS is the brain’s overachieving go-getter.
PS can help us think more clearly.
It’s 3:06 in the afternoon and you’re scrambling to get to a meeting that you’re already late for. That fluster could be the result of poor neurotransmission caused by a deficiency in essential nutrients like PS. Moreover, these innocent brain-bursts can exhaust our PS reserves, leaving us somewhere hovering be¬tween frantic and sluggish. Every impulse, thought, action, reaction, movement, emotion and desire is the end result of neurotransmitters in action. PS is a major supporter of these actions. Therefore, as we increase the amount of PS in our system, we gain the ability to think and act with greater ease.
PS can reduce the adverse impacts of stress on our body and mind.
What do we do when we’re down in the dumps? While plopping down on the sofa with a snack might be an easy solution, it comes with a price. Not only does stress interfere with mood, but it can also inspire inactivity, over-eating and sluggishness. This is due largely in part to cortisol - a catabolic hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to emotional stress. Studies done to determine the effectiveness of PS on cortisol suppression have shown that it works by suppressing the hormones that produce cortisol. As a result, supplementing with PS may be able to help reduce the amount of stress related hormones that ultimately leave us singing the blues.
PS can expedite post workout Recovery time.
Endurance athletes who carefully monitor their body’s response levels are increasingly turning to PS. Immediately following strenuous activity, the body responds by releasing adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) – a hormone that discourages testosterone and encourages cortisol. By limiting ACTH pro¬duction, PS reduces the amount of muscle tissue breakdown that occurs during exercise. A common misconception is that muscles grow during exercise - wrong. In fact, muscles are torn down during ex¬ercise and grow in-between workouts – hence the term Recovery. During Recovery, PS helps prevent the activity of growth-inhibiting hormones. This helps athletes recover faster so their gains are realized more quickly.
In short, Phosphatidyl Serine appears to be a completely safe and beneficial dietary supple¬ment that can offer a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. NOW® Phosphatidyl Serine is derived from soy leci¬thin, and includes Choline and Inositol – two metabolites that work synergistically to help in¬crease circulation and cognitive response.
Pain - Post Op and Relaxation
July 13, 2005 09:24 AM
Relaxation, Music Reduce Post-Op Pain. New research has found that relaxation and music, separately or together, significantly reduce patients' pain following major abdominal surgery. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pain, found that these methods reduce pain more than pain medication alone. Led by Marion Good, PhD, RN, of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, the study is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health. "This is important news for the millions of Americans who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain each year," said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, director of the NINR.
"Better pain management can reduce hospital stays and speed Recovery, ultimately improving patients' quality of life." Dr. Good and her research team studied three groups of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In addition to the usual pain medication, one group used a jaw relaxation technique, another group listened to music, and a third group received a combination of relaxation and music.
Findings revealed that, after surgery, the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group, which received only pain medication. "Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.
"These relaxation and music self-care methods provide more complete relief without the undesired side effects of some pain medications." The findings have important implications for the 23 million people who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain annually in the United States. Pain can hamper Recovery by heightening the body's response to the stress of surgery and increasing tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Pain also interferes with appetite and sleep and can lead to complications that prolong hospitalization.
Dr. Good and her research staff worked with 500 patients aged 18-70, who were undergoing gynecological, gastrointestinal, exploratory or urinary surgery. Prior to surgery, those in the music, relaxation or combination groups practiced the techniques. The relaxation technique consisted of letting the lower jaw drop slightly, softening the lips, resting the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and breathing slowly and rhythmically with a three-rhythm pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. Patients in the music group chose one of five kinds of soothing music--harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz.
On the first and second days after surgery, all patients received morphine or Demerol for pain relief by pressing a button connected to their intravenous patient controlled analgesia pumps. The groups receiving the additional intervention used earphones to listen to music and relaxation tapes during walking and rest, while the control group did not. The research team measured the patients' pain before and after 15 minutes of bed rest and four times during walking to see if the sensation and distress of pain changed.
Dr. Good found that during these two days postsurgery the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group during both walking and rest. "Patients can take more control of their postoperative pain using these self-care methods," says Dr. Good. "Nurses and physicians preparing patients for surgery and caring for them afterwards should encourage patients to use relaxation and music to enhance the effectiveness of pain medication and hasten Recovery."
Dr. Good's findings have implications for future research into the effectiveness of self-care methods on other types of pain, including chronic pain, cancer pain, and pain of the critically ill.
Vitamin D Lack Linked to Hip Fracture. Vitamin D deficiency in post-menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50 percent were found to have a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency. In the control group, women who had not suffered a hip fracture but who were hospitalized for an elective hip replacement, only a very small percentage had vitamin D deficiency, although one-fourth of those women also had osteoporosis. These findings were reported in the April 28, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study, conducted by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD; Lynn Kohlmeier, MD; Shelley Hurwitz, PhD; Jennifer Franklin, BA; John Wright, MD; and Julie Glowacki, PhD; of the Endocrine Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR. These investigators studied women admitted to either Brigham and Women's Hospital or the New England Baptist Hospital, both in Boston, between January 1995 and June 1998.
A group of 98 postmenopausal women who normally reside in their own homes were chosen for the study. Women with bone deterioration from other causes were excluded from the study.
There were 30 women with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis and 68 hospitalized for elective joint replacement. Of these 68, 17 women also had osteoporosis as determined by the World Health Organization bone density criteria. All the participants answered questions regarding their lifestyle, reproductive history, calcium in their diet, and physical activity.
Bone mineral density of the spine, hip, and total body were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique, as was body composition. Blood chemistry and urinary calcium levels were analyzed. The two groups of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly in either time since menopause or bone density in the spine or hip. They did, however, differ in total bone density.
The women admitted for a hip fracture had fewer hours of exercise than the control group. Fifty percent of the women with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, 36.7 percent had elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (a hormone which can stimulate loss of calcium from bone), and 81.8 percent had calcium in their urine, suggesting inappropriate calcium loss. Blood levels of calcium were lower in the women with hip fractures than in either elective group.
These researchers propose that vitamin D supplementation at the time of fracture may speed up Recovery and reduce risk of fracture in the future. Current Dietary Reference Intake Guidelines contain a daily recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D for people aged 51 through 70 and 600 IU for those over age 70.
"We know that a calcium-rich diet and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. This new research suggests that an adequate intake of vitamin D, which the body uses to help absorb calcium, may help women to reduce their risk of hip fracture, even when osteoporosis is present," observed Dr. Evan C. Hadley, NIA Associate Director for geriatrics research.
"Osteoporosis leads to more than 300,000 hip fractures each year, causing pain, frequent disability, and costly hospitalizations or long-term care. "Prevention of such fractures would greatly improve the quality of life for many older women and men, as well as significantly reduce medical costs." The bones in the body often undergo rebuilding. Some cells, osteoclasts, dissolve older parts of the bones. Then, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts create new bone using calcium and phosphorus.
As people age, if osteoporosis develops, more bone is dissolved than is rebuilt, and the bones weaken and become prone to fracture. Also in many older persons, levels of vitamin D in the blood are low because they eat less or spend less time in the sun, which stimulates the body's own production of vitamin D.
Experts do not understand fully the causes of osteoporosis. However, they do know that lack of estrogen which accompanies menopause, diets low in calcium, and lack of exercise contribute to the problem. Eighty percent of older Americans who face the possibility of pain and debilitation from an osteoporosis-related fracture are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have such a fracture sometime in the future. These fractures usually occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.
Sleep Apnea, Diabetes Link Found. Adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to also have diabetes and more likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to a new UCLA School of Dentistry/Department of Veterans Affairs study published today in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sleep apnea, a serious condition marked by loud snoring, irregular breathing and interrupted oxygen intake, affects an estimated nine million Americans. The culprit? Carrying too many extra pounds.
"The blame falls squarely on excess weight gain," said Dr. Arthur H. Friedlander, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry and associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles. Surplus weight interferes with insulin's ability to propel sugars from digested food across the cell membrane, robbing the cells of needed carbohydrates. Diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can't be utilized by the body. Being overweight can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, according to Friedlander.
"When people gain too much weight, fatty deposits build up along the throat and line the breathing passages," he explained. "The muscles in this region slacken during sleep, forcing the airway to narrow and often close altogether." Reclining on one's back magnifies the situation. "When an overweight person lies down and goes to sleep," Friedlander said, "gravity shoves the fat in the neck backwards. This blocks the airway and can bring breathing to a halt."
Friedlander tested the blood sugar of 54 randomly selected male veterans whom doctors had previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. He discovered that 17 of the 54 patients, or 31 percent, unknowingly suffered from adult-onset diabetes. Using the same sample, Friedlander also took panoramic X-rays of the men's necks and jaws. The X-rays indicated that 12 of the 54 patients, or 22 percent, revealed calcified plaques in the carotid artery leading to the brain.
These plaques block blood flow, significantly increasing patients' risk for stroke. Seven of the 12, or 58 percent, were also diagnosed with diabetes. In dramatic comparison, the 17 patients diagnosed with diabetes showed nearly twice the incidence of blockage. Seven of the 17 men, or 41 percent, had carotid plaques. Only five of the 54 patients who displayed plaques did not have also diabetes. If he conducted this study today, Friedlander notes, he would likely find a higher number of diabetic patients. After he completed the study in 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered its definition for diabetes from 140 to 126 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood.
"This is the first time that science has uncovered a link between sleep apnea and diabetes," said Friedlander. "The data suggest that someone afflicted with both diabetes and sleep apnea is more likely to suffer a stroke in the future." "Persons going to the doctor for a sleep-apnea exam should request that their blood be screened for diabetes, especially if they are overweight," he cautioned. More than half of the individuals who develop diabetes as adults will need to modify their diet and take daily insulin in order to control the disease, he added.
Stress, Surgery May Increase CA Tumors. Stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors by suppressing natural killer cell activity, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.
Malignancies and viral infections are in part controlled by the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells, a sub-population of white blood cells that seek out and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. In a study using animal models, natural killer cell activity was suppressed by physical stress or surgery, resulting in a significant increase in tumor development.
These findings suggest that protective measures should be considered to prevent metastasis for patients undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, according to Gayle Page, D.N.Sc., R.N., associate professor and Independence Foundation chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Human studies have already found a connection between the level of NK activity and susceptibility to several different types of cancer," says Page, an author of the study.
"We sought to determine the importance of stress-induced suppression of NK activity and thus learn the effects of stress and surgery on tumor development. "Many patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors that have the potential to spread. If our findings in rats can be generalized to such clinical settings, then these circumstances could increase tumor growth during or shortly after surgery." The research was conducted at Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Department of Psychology at UCLA, where Page held previous positions, and at Tel Aviv University.
Results of the study are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In laboratory studies, Page and her colleagues subjected rats to either abdominal surgery or physical stress, and then inoculated them with cancer cells. In the rats that had undergone surgery, the researchers observed a 200 to 500 percent increase in the incidence of lung tumor cells, an early indicator of metastasis, compared with rats that had not received surgery.
The experiment also showed that stress increased lung tumor incidence and significantly increased the mortality in the animals inoculated with cancer cells. "Our results show that, under specific circumstances, resistance to tumor development is compromised by physical stress and surgical intervention," says Page.
"Because surgical procedures are life-saving and cannot be withheld, protective measures should be considered that will prevent suppression of the natural killer cell activity and additional tumor development. "Researchers do not yet know how to prevent surgery-induced immune suppression, but early animal studies have shown increased use of analgesia reduces the risk."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Lead author was Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., and other authors were Raz Yirmiya, Ph.D., and Guy Shakhar.
June 14, 2005 06:26 PM
by Catherine Heusel Energy Times, October 1, 1998
Quitting a bad habit presents quite a challenge. Just ask anyone who's ever tried to give up cigarettes. Or alcohol. Or even coffee. You start out with the best of intentions but cravings can push you off the straight and narrow. The result: giving up a nasty habit often means regenerating your resolve and trying again. And again. And again. While some blame an inability to give up a bad habit on poor will power, in actuality, the tenacious chains of these habits may derive from the body as well as the mind. "People don't seem to realize the effects these substances have on the body," says Joan Mathews-Larson, Ph.D., director of the Health Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, and author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Dr. Mathews-Larson is one of a growing number of addiction professionals who stress physical Recovery when giving up a drug, whether it's caffeine or cocaine. "You can't disrupt your internal chemistry for months or years on end and then expect your body to automatically bounce back," she says. "You have to give it some help."
Breaking Off is Hard to Do
The substances we love to overdo all share a common characteristic: they mimic or enhance the body's chemical messengers. Opiate drugs such as heroin, for example, are virtually identical to substances called endorphins, neurochemicals that the body produces to mask feelings of pain. (When an injured Kerri Strug performed her final Olympic vault, her endorphins enabled her to push past her protesting nerve endings.) Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can provide a "rush" similar to that produced by adrenaline and noradrenaline, the neurochemicals that provide the quick and excited feeling that swells down your spine during frightened or thrilling moments. On the other hand, some drugs (notably alcohol and cocaine) boost the activity of several different neurochemicals, including those that control sensations of pleasure. From a biological perspective, then, none of the drugs that people take are totally unfamiliar to the body. Your body makes similar chemicals all the time, in response to specific events and needs. "The main advantage of drugs is that they act powerfully and immediately," explains Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind Altering Drugs. "Their main disadvantage is that they reinforce the notion that the state we desire comes from something outside us."
Another serious disadvantage of drugs resides in their impact on the body's everyday neurochemical balance. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains its internal chemical environment on a fairly even keel. It may pump out oodles of adrenaline in response to a specific threat, like a near miss on the highway, but for every such scary "high" a corresponding low sets in: that rubbery-kneed sense of relief you feel when things calm down.
Over time, the body mistakes the introduction of mind-altering, foreign chemicals as an excess of its own production of neurochemicals. As a result it slows down its own manufacture of these vital substances. So when you stop drinking caffeine or other stimulating drugs, the body finds its neurochemical receptors begging for relief: Cravings raise their ugly heads while so-called withdrawal symptoms raise your discomfort level. A general sense of ill health sets in until the body's natural production of neurotransmitter production reaches an acceptable level.
Breaking a bad habit may be complicated by a lack of regenerative health habits. "A proper diet is pretty low on an addict's list of priorities," says Mathews-Larson. "Most of the people we see live on fast food and junk food." Many people trying to give up bad habits are attacked by the chemical and physical problems resulting from eating fatty foods and not exercising: their bodies are chemically and physically challenged from a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, Recovery from a bad habit can be enhanced by balancing your diet, exercising and using nutritional supplements to straighten out your interior biochemical environment.
"We target substances that are essential for maintaining optimal brain chemistry," points out Mathews-Larson. Foremost among these substances are a variety of amino acids that the body needs to rebuild its supply of neurotransmitters. In addition, nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C are often in short supply among those who indulge in addictive drugs and alcohol.
Exercise and meditation are equally important to Recovery, since both activities naturally prompt production of mood-enhancing neurochemicals. (The so-called "runner's high" is believed to result from endorphins and other neurochemicals stimulated by jogging.) More importantly, natural stimulation that pushes the body to create its own, endogenous supply of feel-good chemicals produces a longer sense of well-being than the transitory high induced by drugs and alcohol. "The potential for highs is always there, and many techniques exist for eliciting them," declares Dr. Weil. "Drug highs differ from other highs only in superficial ways."
To experienced treatment professionals such as Mathews-Larson, kicking a long-standing habit depends on learning to appreciate the natural high of good health, through an overall healthy lifestyle. "It's not enough to just stop using the substance you abused," she contends. "You have to build a high quality of life for yourself, so you can fully enjoy every day."
Recommended Reading: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews-Larson (Fawcett Books, 1997) Healing Anxiety With Herbs by Harold H. Bloomfield. (Harper Collins, 1998.)
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete Recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004
If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?
Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.
Short 'n Sweet
If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.
Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).
But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.
Feeding Your Muscles
When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."
That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in Recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.
During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during Recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.
According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."
Stresses and Tears
Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.
Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.
Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.
Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.
All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.
Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.
But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.
When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.
The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.
Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.
Fat Into the Fire
In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.
But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.
Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.
Prepare to Energize
To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:
Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.
Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.
Muscle Reconstruction Plan
If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:
The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).
This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle Recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.
By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:
Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.
Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.
According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.
" Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.
Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.
Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.
" It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).
Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.